This is my mom's meatloaf recipe- it is seriously the best meatloaf I've ever had- it's super simple and really easy to make. It's the ultimate of comfort foods and one of my favorite dinners!
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My dear husband is always up for meatloaf. He is a meatloaf addict. Seriously. Being that my mom's easy meatloaf recipe is his (and my) favorite, I figured that I should probably share it with you guys so that you can jump on the meatloaf train. And as you can imagine, J was thrilled as always to find that meatloaf is on the menu for dinner tonight!
What I love about my mom's classic meatloaf recipe is its simplicity. You're not going to find random, chopped up pieces of things in it. There are no fancy bells and whistles. It's not served with a gravy and while I love it with ketchup, you won't find her spreading ketchup over the top before serving, that's just not how we roll.
What you will find is a simple, delicious and easy-to-make meatloaf that uses simple ingredients that most of us already have in our refrigerators and pantries. This one is a definite keeper!
Tips for making easy meatloaf
- Like most amazing mom-dishes, there really are not exact measurements- it's more a matter of adding the ingredients to the meat, mixing it super well and smelling it to make sure you can smell the flavors. And because I love you guys, we went ahead and measured out the ingredients to make it easier. That being said, I strongly encourage you to only use that as a baseline and to become one with your meatloaf. Smell it as you mix and add more of the ingredients until it smells super flavorful!
- Make sure it's not too dry. My grandmother used to say that when it came to adding more dry ingredients, go for cheese before breadcrumbs, as the cheese holds the moisture better. She also emphasized that you want 1 egg per pound of meat. Don't underestimate the power of a palmful of warm water if it's seeming too dry after adding your eggs!
- The baking time will vary based on the size of your meatloaf. You'll want it to temp out at 165 degrees, since there is raw egg involved.
- I once had an old roommate who told me that you know meatloaf is there because on the outside it appears to be so brown that it's almost burned and ruined but really, it's just perfect.
- That said you also don't want to overcook it, so you might consider checking it around the hour point and go from there (unless if you reduce the recipe).
Frequently asked questions about making the best meatloaf
- Can you make this recipe as a turkey meatloaf? Yes, I’ve made it several times as turkey meatloaf. Just make sure you have a heavy hand with seasonings because ground turkey has less fat content and therefore less flavor.
- How do you make tender meatloaf? The liquid content helps make it tender, but because not to add too much liquid or it can be soggy. Also, try not to overwork the meat. Be aware that when you're making smaller meatloaves you tend to have more of the crispy edges.
- Why does my meatloaf always fall apart? This goes back to the last question: not enough liquid. While you don't want it to be soggy, the liquid is what binds all the dry parts and meat together. It takes a little while to get to the point where you can "feel" the right texture, but once you've made it a few times, it gets into your bones. Trust me in this!
- How long does meatloaf last? 3-4 days covered in the refrigerator.
- Can you eat cold meatloaf? Yes, as long as it's been refrigerated. I personally love to slice up the leftovers and eat them on a sandwich with white bread and ketchup (and serve the leftover potatoes on the side). That said, I know people can be weird about leftovers so no judgement if cold meatloaf isn't your thing.
- Can I make this as a mini meatloaf or in a muffin tin? Yes! For a smaller meatloaf, just reduce the baking time. I also have a recipe for muffin tin meatloaf.
Make it a meal!
A few great recipes to round out and complete this meal would be:
- Peas with Onions
- Easy Garlic Green Beans
- Parmesan Garlic Roasted Potatoes
- Cheddar and Broccoli Twice Baked Potatoes
- Grandma's Best Banana Cake
- Quick and Easy Chocolate Pudding Cake
- 2 pounds ground beef (or turkey, in which case be liberal with your seasonings)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 4 Tablespoons ketchup
- ½ cup Romano cheese
- ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs 2
- 2 large eggs
- Warm water (optional- only add this to the mixture if its too dry, you want it to be nice and moist. Start with a palmful)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the loaf pan with cooking spray (if you don't have a loaf pan just use a regular pan with high sides and just shape the meat into a loaf).
- Mix all ingredients really well. Smell it as you go- you'll want the smell to be strong and flavorful. The texture should be wet without being watery. But you don't want it too dry either. If it's too dry, you can always add some warm water- start with a palmful.
- Shape the meat into a loaf- at this point you can freeze it if you're not looking to eat it right away. You'll want to thaw it before baking.
- Place the meat into the pan. Put a small amount of warm water around the corners of the pan.
- Bake for around an hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Rest for 5 minutes and serve immediately.
If you tried this recipe please comment and rate it 🙂 I love hearing your feedback and answering your questions! And if you make this please tag me on Instagram with @thelifejolie so I can share it <3
Try some other dinners using ground beef:
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